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Maryland Gun Control Laws

Each state has different gun laws, and they can overlap with federal law. Trying to get a handle on gun regulations can be a bit tricky. Penalties for breaking Maryland firearms-related laws can be severe, resulting in hefty fines and long potential prison sentences in the most severe cases. Before you find yourself in trouble, it is wise to learn the state and federal regulations that control the purchase, possession, and use of firearms.

The main provisions of Maryland's gun control laws are listed in the table below.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Maryland Code, Criminal Law, Title 4, Sections 4-101 through 4-407 Maryland Code, Public Safety, Title 5, Sections 5-101 through 5-610

Illegal Arms

The following weapons are prohibited, with limited exceptions in Maryland:
  • Assault weapons
  • Short-barreled rifles
  • Short-barreled shotguns
  • Machine guns
Maryland's statutes contain a lengthy list of weapons that qualify as assault weapons, including certain semiautomatic pistols.

Waiting Period

Maryland has a 7-day waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and delivery to the purchaser for sales of regulated firearms (handguns and assault weapons). Maryland does not have a waiting period for sales of rifles or shotguns.

Who May Not Own

A person cannot possess a firearm if the person:
  • Has been convicted of a violent crime, felony, or other specified crimes
  • Is a fugitive from justice
  • Is a habitual drunkard or addicted to a controlled substance
  • Has mental health disorders and a violent criminal history or has been confined to a mental health institution for 30 consecutive days
  • Is under 21 years of age
  • Is subject to a protective order
  • Is under 30 years old and has been adjudicated delinquent by a juvenile court for an act that would disqualify them from owning a gun if committed by an adult

License Required?

A license is required to purchase a handgun in Maryland.

Concealed Carry License Required?

With a few exceptions, a person cannot carry a handgun without a handgun permit in Maryland.

Open Carried Allowed?

Maryland allows the open carry of a handgun by a person with a handgun permit.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To be eligible for a handgun permit, a person must:
  • Be an adult
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than 1 year has been imposed
  • Not have been convicted of a crime involving the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance
  • Not be an alcoholic, addict, or habitual user of a controlled dangerous substance unless the habitual use of the controlled dangerous substance is under legitimate medical direction
  • Have successfully completed an approved firearms training course
  • Not exhibit a propensity for violence or instability that may reasonably render the person's possession of a handgun a danger to the person or to another
  • Have good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger
An applicant under the age of 30 years is qualified only if the Secretary finds that the applicant does not have a record of certain juvenile delinquent acts.

Machine Gun Laws

With limited exceptions, machine guns are prohibited in Maryland. If a specific machine gun is permissible, the owner must register it with the Secretary of State Police within 24 hours of acquiring it and annually in May.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

Maryland gun laws are strict and violating the law can carry serious penalties.
  • Possessing an illegal assault weapon is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 3 years and a fine up to $5,000
  • Possessing a short-barrel shotgun or short-barrel rifle is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and a fine up to $5,000
  • Unlawfully carrying a handgun is punishable by 30 days to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of $250 to $2,500

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Carrying or possessing a firearm on public school property is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000. If the firearm is a handgun, the punishment is 90 days to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of $250 to $2,500.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Federal Gun Laws

While Maryland and other states have their own gun laws, federal law also regulates gun ownership by determining the kinds of firearms citizens may legally own. And where federal and state laws intersect, federal law always trumps state law. While the Second Amendment guarantees the ability to own certain firearms, the government can put some restrictions on the right to bear arms. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act both apply to Maryland gun owners, so it's important to be familiar with both statutes.

In addition to the foregoing regulations, there are prohibitions and limitations on the carry, concealment, and discharge of firearms that should be carefully considered.

Learn More About Maryland Gun Control Laws From a Lawyer

It is important to comply with state and federal laws regulating guns. If you'd like to find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner in Maryland, or you've been charged with a gun-related crime, you should speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney in your area today.

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